Sometimes it’s easy to look at Jesus’ death on the cross in a distant, removed way. While acknowledging it as an important event in history, we may gloss over its personal relevance. It is one thing to say Jesus died so sinners could have the opportunity for eternal life. It is quite another to say, “Jesus died for me, a sinner.” When we look closely at why Jesus died, we see that Jesus’ death is only half the story. The other half lies with us.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”–Romans 5:8
When we think of those who would lay down their lives for others, a few people come to mind: the soldier who would jump on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers; the Secret Service agent who would take a bullet to save the President; the police officer who would draw a criminal’s fire to save a victim. In each case, one person nobly gives his or her life so that others may live. Jesus, in dying for us, did just the opposite—He died that we may also die.
Wait, that doesn’t sound right . . .
If you’re confused, you’re in good company! A man named Nicodemus came to Jesus one night, and Jesus told him that one must be born again to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3-21). This befuddled Nicodemus. He thought about the impossibility of crawling back into his mother’s womb and coming out again, and plainly questioned the Savior about it. In doing so, he tripped over the same stumbling block that trips many of us: the failure to understand that to be reborn into eternal life, we must first die.
When we are born into this world, we inherit the sinful nature that prevails among all humankind. This nature is contrary to God’s Holy Will and separates us from Him. When we kill off this sinful nature once and for all, we can begin to experience eternal life in Jesus. What we are really doing is admitting that our worldly life is actually death cleverly disguised as life. Continuing under this illusion doesn’t change the fact that we are separated from God. Dead.
Jesus knew that we would remain hopelessly separated from Him without His direct intervention. Most of us would give our life if it was the only way to save someone of importance to us. Who are the “someones” on your list? Your children? Your spouse? Your best friend? What is at the core of our willingness to sacrifice so completely for someone else?
And so it was with Jesus’ sacrifice for you. Have you followed up Jesus’ death with your own? If so, you know exactly what the apostle Paul was feeling when he wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20). That’s the truth.
God demonstrates His love for you in that even though you are a sinner, Christ died for you. If you will die for Him, eternal life is yours.
That’s the YouTruth. Jesus died for you.
© 2009, 2011 Dan Buckhout